The Shaping of Shubie

The Shubenacadie river system was formed over 11,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age when a large glacier, approximately 1mile thick / high, moved across all of Nova Scotia then receded. In its wake, the glacier left a very different landscape,

The receeding glacier action of scrapping and dragging, combined with the erosion from rushing water, the freeze-thaw cycle, and gravity have all shaped the Shubenacadie River and surrounding landscape that existed when the first shovel was put in the ground to construct the canal in 1826. The building of the Canal would further change the landscape and waterway  into the one we see, walk, and paddle on today.

a new landscape

In various locations along the Waterway, you can see bedrock made up of quartzite and slate. These started out as deposits of sandstone and shale in an ancient deep sea over 500 million years ago. Heat and pressure transformed the sandstone to quartzite and shale to slate. Later uplift and erosion produced boulders called “erratics”.  Erratics were dragged by glacial action and lie on the forest floor throughout the Park. As the lower end of the river widens and meanders, the undulating motion of the river water deposited nutrient-rich sediment. Think of a large snake slithering upriver and pushing the sediments to each side as it moves. Over time this sediment created an “interval” which was prime soil for the farmland we see on either side of the river as you get closer to the river's mouth. 

Did you know?

The boulders and rocks left by the receding glacier also provided material to build the canal. How do we know this? Chisel marks made by a canal stonecutter can be found on the boulders on the lawn opposite the Fairbanks Centre.